The Indians aren’t hitting, plain and simple. Anyone who’s had the pleasure of watching them so far has been able to see that. But how bad is it really?
Well… it’s pretty bad.
Now look, I understand that 4 games does not a season make. It’s still early and some guys just have a tendency to struggle in April, but this is different. It would be easy to look the other way if this team had a long track record of prolonged success. In all honesty, it doesn’t. As a matter of fact, it’s basically been more of the same that we were forced to sit and endure through all of last season. That is why it might be time to for a little bit of concern.
Right now, four games into the season, the Indians possess the worst team batting average in all of baseball at .153. Fortunately, some how, some way it hasn’t translated into scoring the fewest runs in the league. Although, out of the 14 runs the Indians have scored thus far, 9 have come via the long ball. That’s not good. The last thing you want to do as a team is simply sit back and wait for the long ball to come. It’s not reliable, a lot like relying on three pointers in basketball. It’s great when it works, but when it’s not… oh boy.
This most likely can be attributed to the fact that the Indians did little, if anything, to improve the team from an offensive stand point. The only real change made was the demotion of Matt LaPorta and the signing of Casey Kotchman to man first base. Kotchman is a great defensive first baseman and we’ve seen that first hand so far, but he was never going to be the answer to the team’s offensive struggles.
No, what the Indians needed to do was bring in a legitimate power hitting, right-handed bat to plug into the middle of the lineup. Sorry Shelly Duncan, while you might be a reliable fill in you are by no means that type of player, but at least your right handed, so I guess that’s a positive.
Last night was the proof of what I’m talking about. Manny Acta decided he wanted to take a few liberties with the lineup. And by liberties I mean he decided to completely flip it on it’s head. Where he came up with it, I’m not entirely sure. Going up against left hander, Chris Sale, Manny Acto chose to play a right-handed dominant lineup which included Aaron Cunningham, Jose Lopez, Lou Marson, and Jason Donald (batting leadoff?????) in place of Michael Brantley, Kotchman, Jack Hannahan, and Travis Hafner. Needless to say the result was anything but surprising.
Sale held the Indians in check limiting them to only one run during his time on the mound (the second run cam in the bottom of the ninth off the bat of Jose Lopez, who inexplicably batted 5th… whatever). If this was the lineup that was supposed to counter the left-handed starter, then why even bother? Is there any doubt that the regular lineup could have put up 2 runs for the entire game? It’s not like they were facing Randy Johnson in his hey day. It was Chris Sale… first ever major league start… Chris Sale.
Needless to say, unless things make a dramatic change or the Indians somehow magically acquire the piece they’ve been missing in the hear of the order I feel like we might be in for more of the same for the rest of the season and if that’s the case… buckle up. Things might get a lot worse before they possibly can get better.